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March 26, 2004

Stunning the Host

Today's Day by Day cartoon reacts to Eric Alterman's appearance on Dennis Miller's show. I have to agree with Sheila Lennon that this wasn't Miller's shining moment. However, given even the beginning of a grumpy mood, I'm not sure I'd have been able to muster the will to argue with Alterman, who has clearly taken the precaution of dismissing the strongest arguments of the other side out of hand.

This is what Alterman is talking about where the online video picks up, and where Miller begins to lose interest:

[Bush] certainly does mislead the country. There's absolutely no regard for truth one way or another... It's sort of an existential question about whether or not you want to call it a lie.

Alterman is toward the top of his heap, and the distilled, for-TV litany — what the New York Observer's Joe Hagan called (on March 24) "laying out his arguments on autopilot" — is a structure of myriad little pieces all twisted out of shape to fit a preordained pattern. There's no denying that Miller was way off his game, and he should have pressed for specifics until something came up that he could address on the facts. However, one can understand his reaction to a guy whose argument, it seems, exists on another plane of reality.

Alterman's one-line description of his book, What Liberal Media, got laughs, for crying out loud. Definitely not a guest for whom one can afford to be underprepared, because there's almost no middle ground from which to wing it.

Posted by Justin Katz at March 26, 2004 7:54 PM
News Media

exactly right, justin. miller, as a professional, should have pressed for specifics, but I wanted to show his frustration at trying to have an adult discussion with, essentially, a whiny 6 -year old.

Posted by: Chris Muir at March 26, 2004 8:28 PM